iPhone 4S : 5 Years After – User Review

by Digital Monk

iphone 4s


The first dual-core iPhone and the last iPhone that Steve Jobs held in his hands, announced a day before his death. I bought it during my visit to Hamburg, Germany in 2012. where the Apple’s mobile devices already made quite an impact in contrast to my home country, Serbia, where this device’s popularity was just on the rise and the android based system had already established its dominance. After using a HTC Android device for less than a year I have decided to make use of my trip to Hamburg, because there was no iPhone on the free sale nor with annual contract with any of the domestic telecommunication companies back then. Is it possible that there is a device that does not freeze or lag most of the time? Yes, and the software, although updated, still works as the first day I bought it. The update stops with iOS 9.3.5 and the time for retirement is on its way since the app support will focus on the newer iOS versions.


The first game I installed on the 4S was Infinity Blade II. I was wired in since the first 2 minutes I’ve started playing, and also wired to the electricity socket after 2 hours. Ok, I get it, you don’t play high-end games on small (battery) devices. Apple’s official battery can endure 6 hours of web use over 3G, 8 hours of talk time on 3G, etc. That may be true, but it changes soon, as the power capacity gradually drops over time. If you are really mobile every day and hooked on social networks and one-touch games, after a year or so you’ll notice that you have one extra thing in your pocket or a purse that you didn’t had a year ago – a slightly damaged white cable. After 2 years you will seriously consider to change the battery. Luckily, it charges much, much faster. We talk about 2 hour long full charge, but it depends on you battery condition. It’s Li-Po 1432 mAh battery (5.3 Wh).


The new, monolith, gorilla glass on both sides design made iPhone 4/4s distinguishable from other devices. This includes a lonely home button in the front and the aluminum frame which made iPhone unique. Weighing 140g makes this phone relatively heavy for today's standards and for a such small display device as is the 9.3 mm too thick compared to other devices but its flawless, minimalistic, smooth design still makes it attractive. It is still fast and responsive, app support is still decent and it overheats only when high-end games are being played. Recently the home button stopped responding fully, but thanks to AssistiveTouch option you are able to make virtual home button on you touch screen.


Although having a strong aluminium frame and scratch resistant gorilla glass, a fall on the hard surface from 1m height, without a rubber mask can shatter your display or back glass depending on the angle of impact. It happened to me two times and both times I’ve easily changed the back glass myself spending about 7$. Although it feels better not holding a rubber in your hand, if you care more about your phone than the stylish glass+metal feeling, use a protection (no pun intended). Other than that, I've never taken it to the repair shop. The falls never altered its performance in any way.


When it came out, iPhone 4s brought a bunch of new features to Apple's phone brand such as intelligent personal assistant – Siri, iPhone's first dual-core processor (1.0 GHz Cortex-A9), better graphic processor, 8 MP, f/2.4 camera, HD 1080p sensor for video recording, iOS 5, two antennas for better signal, and so on. If you still prefer a small screen device, it is still a good choice even after all of these years. It’s fast even for today's standards, has great HQ design, app support for it’s latest iOS version is still good and so is the camera. If you are thinking of buying really cheap, plastic, low resolution display, suspiciously responsive 5MP Android device, I would strongly advise you to consider used iPhone 4s instead. It still was the Apple’s flagship, premium device back then and the technology is still superior quality to today's low-end „1 year use“ smartphones.


Short battery life, small screen, no 4G LTE Technology, occasional problems with newer features that come with new iOS versions. Notice that the phone is about 5 years old but it’s still holding its ground for today’s standards.


compare   „If it ain't broke don't fix it“, or rather, don’t change it. At least that's how it was all these years. It served me very well, and for me, there was no rational reason to change it sooner, but as the technology is unmercifully moving forward it is time for a retirement. Larger screen, better processing power, more RAM, better camera and other new features… is what you need to embrace the full potential and stay in touch with the new technologies as the industry and users demands grow. Never have I regretted buying the premium device from the start. It just worked, always, and if you don’t regret the money, buy a premium device from the start if you plan to stick with it for a while. I’ve seen many people that were at first satisfied with buying a low to mid-range device but a lot of them got disappointed very fast, spending additional money on a new device. It depends on the person and what their needs are, but be very cautious when seeing a billion pixel camera, 8-core device from „the new promising company“ one-third of the price of a premium device-it usually doesn’t works out as you think it will.


2011-2012: 10/10 2016: 6/10